Complement vs. Compliment


The words complement and compliment are often misspelled. They sound similar but their meanings are very different. i.e. they are homophones. An easy mnemonic to remember the difference is that to compliment means to praise and to complement means to complete. Complement and complete both have an e.

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Meaning A complement is something that gives completeness to a thing, or makes whole. A compliment is an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration.
Example A good wine is a complement to a good meal. The skilled pianist received several compliments for her perfect rendition.
Mnemonic Compl-E-ment has an e. As does compl-E-te. Compl-i-ment has an i. Compliments "I" receive boosts the "I," i.e. the ego.

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